Recovery agents torment borrowers


The last year of her MSc proved to be very tough for Arushi Jain, a student. Constant calls and visits from a bank’s recovery agents amid the pandemic caused her stress. Her father,  cloth store owner, had taken loan from a bank which he was unable to repay due to various reasons. 

“My family struggled a lot. My elder brother lost his job due to Covid and my father’s business was also not doing too well. Amidst of what our family was going through, we were getting calls and frequent visits from loan recovery agents which was affecting our mental peace,” Jain shared. 

“It was not like the banks were issuing us major threats…, but their continuous calls disturbed my family a lot. My father developed health issues due to this.”

Jain’s family eventually managed to repay the loan once their business started doing well again and after her brother got another job.

“Those times were not easy. Knowing that the economic situation was not good, and the tension of repaying the loan, took a toll on our mental health. Even though, we understood it’s public money, we couldn’t do much in a situation where one family member had lost his job and the family business was not as profitable.  We cannot take another loan to repay the previous one. All we needed was some time, but they troubled us with calls and visits,” Jain shared.

Ishika Reddy, an undergraduate student, faced a similar issue. Her brother had taken a car loan which he was not able to repay. “My brother tried his best to repay it….His account was classified as a non-performing asset and later his car was put up for auction. This didn’t bother my brother. What bothered him was the visits recovery agents used to make and their inappropriate talk,” she shared.

“We know it is important to repay  loans; otherwise, banks suffer  losses but they should understand that it is inappropriate to harass someone for it. When they are sending recovery agents, they should be strictly advised to not intimidate the person in any form. You never know what the other person is going through.” Loan recovery agents work for banks to recover the debts from clients. A report in The Indian Express said complaints related to Direct Selling Agents (DSAs) and Recovery Agents increased by 60 per cent between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Recovering money is our job, say agents

Arvind Vasudeo has been working as a loan recovery agent since 2014. After joining the State Bank of India, he switched to Indian Overseas Bank. About his job as a recovery agent, , he said: “People feel as if we are some kind of goons. But many times, we are the ones who face goons. I have received threats from people who said that we will not repay the loan, do whatever you and your bank can do. Our only aim is to recover the loan. We try to make people understand that it’s good to repay loans as soon as possible otherwise they… will face issues. Some people understand, but many threaten us instead. And those who threaten us are goons who show us their status.”

Amit Kumar, a recovery agent who has worked with various banks, shared: “Many times people don’t understand if you talk peacefully. Many times they misbehave, and that is when we have to talk strictly and make frequent calls and visits. However, I am against… humiliating people over non-repayment of loans. But many times, customers are at fault.”

Asked about banks sending recovery agents to borrowers, Rati Priya, an Assistant Manager at Vijaya Bank, explained: “Once the account of the borrower comes under NPA (rules), we send them. But before that, a letter is also sent to them notifying about the repayment of loan. Also, the recovery agents are directed to follow rules and regulations. “Our intention is to recover the money; resorting to harassment is not our aim.”

RBI guidelines state that banks must have a diligence process when it comes to engaging loan recovery agents. They are responsible for all complaints filed against them. Also, the banks should ensure that borrowers’ complaints regarding the recovery process are dealt with properly.


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